Festival News: Summer At Warp Speed

August March
3 min read
Summer At Warp Speed
(CC BY Julian Jensen)
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“Here comes summer,” says the Vans Warped Tour as it rolls toward Albuquerque in tour buses filled with boisterously youthful rocanrol and hip-hop combos whose names only make sense to humans under the age of 30. The tour lands in Burque on Tuesday, June 17, at the Isleta Amphitheater (5601 University SE).

I’m listening to some of the featured acts as I write because they are mostly new to me. I am trying to get a feel for them in a way that is similar to breaking in a new pair of skate shoes.

That’s cool, though I already know plenty about Vans. They came outta California. The slip-ons were practical and comfortable après-ocean tools for surfers who spent the day suffering the slings and arrows of the sea in search of an often bruised, yet freedom-loving, barefoot glory.

The high-tops were good for skaters who needed something lightweight, yet supportive as they slapped through the streets, arroyos and home-built vert ramps of America’s coastal colonies and middle-of-the-desert towns.

If you wore Vans in the ’80s, it was because you were seriously engaged in a culture that prized individuality as much as it did road rash or the bruises brought by brutal waves. Of course a fairly specific rocanrol soundtrack was involved in that form of subcultural expression.

But like all things good and wondrously, sub-culturally American, board sports and their accoutrements—music and clothing in particular—became wildly popular. By century’s end, the whole thing went big time. Now everyone wears Vans, even folks who have never embraced a face-plant in search of the perfect rail.

Fortunately music is still the driving force behind the ascendance of skate culture. This year’s Vans Warped Tour is a fine confirmation of that fact, even if certain aging hipsters (ahem) must spend a couple hours wrapping their minds around new sounds pouring out of today’s summary of what’s summery.

With multiple stages, this all-day event—doors are at 11am, and the festival wraps at 9pm—features so many performers that it’s practically impossible to detail all of them. Highlights include sets by Sacramento, Calif. post-hardcore act
A Lot Like Birds; metal/hip-hop hybrid outfit Scare Don’t Fear from Providence, R.I.; enigmatic Nintendo-core rockers The Protomen; and Florida ska maniacs Beebs and Her Money Makers. The complete fest lineup and ticket info is available at bit.ly/vansabq.

Besides enough loud new music to trigger significant seismic events in every city on the tour, this year’s skate and surf-inflected festival takes into account the season’s other defining element, the warmth of the sun.

Quenching attractions include a variety of misting stations, a slip and slide area, designated shade tents and even an air-conditioned, soothingly dim reverse daycare area/chill out center for oldsters who have grown photosensitive or wary of the huge electronic noises generated by their progeny.

Ironically, although the concert website says each entrant is allowed to bring in a small backpack, a sealed bottle of water and a fully charged cell phone, it makes no mention of whether one can bring the ol’ board along. Comfortable shoes are also allowed, according to tour authorities. Naturally Vans are the preferred footwear for this occasion.

Tickets will run you 46 bones at the
Vans Warped Tour website. Skate or die, dudes!
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